If you drink imported wine, be prepared to pay higher prices for them this coming Christmas. And be prepared for the possibility that you won’t even see them in stores. 

No, your favourite wine itself (most likely) hasn’t become more expensive, nor is it being discontinued. It’s just having difficulty travelling. 

US Wine Industry 

The wine backlog in the US actually started before the pandemic. The Trump Administration imposed a 25% tariff in October 2019 on European wines, and the CBMA, a tax break on alcohol, was set to expire at the end of 2020. Those two factors resulted in companies rushing to import their products, which triggered a massive backlog in the U.S. warehouse system. 

COVID-19 then caused a record high amount of online shopping and freight transportation on the China – U.S. route. That led to a wave of shipping companies only working on that route, leaving the others with nothing. So even if European warehouses were producing enough wine, the boxes would have no way off the continent. 

UK Wine Industry 

The UK is experiencing shortages throughout its entire food and beverage industry, and the biggest culprit is the shortage of truck drivers. Logistics UK, one of the biggest trade associations in the UK, has estimated that the current shortage falls somewhere between 90,000 to 120,000 truckers. 

Fresh border restrictions have caused paperwork to become more complicated, and extended the time needed to get the wine off of docks and into the country. And thanks to a wood shortage, the wine industry is also struggling to source all the wood they need for wine barrels and storage boxes. 

It’s getting more expensive to ship wine, and supply chains are just fighting to stay in the game. Wine tariffs, freight backlogs, and labour shortages are some of the reasons why your favourite wine could be struggling to get to you. And the ones that do arrive will probably come attached with higher retail prices in order to subsidise transportation costs. 

But maybe it’s time to try some new wine! You can take this opportunity to support your local wineries and vineyards. Who knows, you might find a new favourite. Keep us updated if you do! You can find us on Facebook or LinkedIn, we’d love to hear about your wine adventures.